The Screen and I

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Before we delve further into the world of Netflix binges, director marathons and Oscar-season movie reviews, I wanted to give you guys a glimpse into my personal history with film and television – a sort of “who’s who” of shows, movies and characters that have influenced my opinions and tastes.

As a child of the ’80s, there was rarely a day when I didn’t sit down to spend some time with my reliable old friend, TV (some would say only friend, but do not believe those middle school skanks Ashley and Lindsay).

And thanks to this scene from 1982’s “Annie” (an early musical staple in my entertainment diet) I never expected a trip to the movie theater to be anything short of pure magic and glamour:

As with any such long-lasting relationship, the screen and I have had ups and downs, good times and bad, though, till this day, we both try to forget that Brendan Fraser was ever a thing….

1. Early movie-going experiences

  • I’m pretty certain that the first movie I saw in the theater was a Big Bird adventure movie. Fellow borderline-Millennials – do you recall that Big Bird was an avid traveler?

  Big_Bird_in_China   51bCmhfCOeL

I did not. But I do know that before it started, I excitedly told my mom that I had seen our hero’s big yellow foot sticking out from under the movie screen curtain. At that age, I still had something to learn about the nuances of le film…..

  • My other early memory is purely audible – a man and his hat and whip conjured by that “duh duh duh DUH duh duh”…. well, you know, this:
     Has any other movie’s theme ever so perfectly captured it’s spirit? Those jaunty notes are the perfect precursor for the big, silly adventure that’s to come. A lovely moment followed with my dad and I walking out of the theater, singing it at the top of our lungs. At that age I suspected that he and Indiana Jones might secretly be the same person anyway, and so it also worked as a sort of Brannon family theme song.

2. The show I wouldn’t have missed an episode of when I was….

    • age 7 – “Quantum Leap” – what a fantastic introduction into the endless possibilities of science fiction. And those opening credits are everything that was right about early ’90s:
    • age 12 – “MST3K” That’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000” for you non-nerds. For pre-teen me, there was no better Saturday night than splitting a DiGiorno Pizza with my kid brother and watching those whacky robots mock some of the worst movies ever made.

Hmm, maybe I really didn’t have a lot of “friends”…eh, whatever – Robot Roll Call!

 

  • age 17 – “The X-Files” much more to come on this epic series in future posts. And I will have my “I Want to Believe” tattoo someday soon!!

3. The thing I love that everyone else hates:

The obvious choice here is my affection for the cheesiest of cheesy musical fare. I’ve never met a Barbra Streisandmovie I didn’t like and not many (straight, 30-something) people can say that.

And while it’s not true that everyone hates it, “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” is so criminally underrated that it’s worth a mention here. Not only is it a brilliantly funny and weird entry the detective noir category, it’s also the move that brought Robert Downey Jr. back to us. People, this is important – pay attention!

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4. The thing I hate that everyone else loves:

  • Roller Coasters. That’s seriously all I could think of – truth is, I’m an enthusiastic person in general. Oh, or I could do a whole rant about how shitty “Avatar” is.

5. The top 5 shows I’d want to be stuck on a desert island with:

Meaning I could watch them on an endless loop (and to some degree do – just ask my husband) without wanting to hang myself from a coconut tree:

  • Arrested Development
  • 30 Rock
  • Battlestar Galatica
  • X-Files
  • Twin Peaks

6. Characters who are my life role models:

and yeah, they just all happen to be women.

  • Dana Scully: hair color, attitude
  • Liz Lemon: dance moves, blazer collection, ability to think of funny catchphrases
  • Alicia Florrick: Chicago digs, (lack of) religious beliefs
  • Tina Belcher: self-confidence
  • any of the “Orphan Black”…sisters: proficiency at kicking ass in all things

7. Shameful gaps in my viewing history

The positive spin on this list is, “wow, look at all the great stuff I can still look forward to watching”. The haters among you can constantly remind me how poorly qualified I am to be writing anything on this topic at all:

  • The West Wing
  • The Master (I know!)
  • Breaking Bad (I know, I know!!)
  • Brazil
  • Downton Abbey
  • The Sopranos
  • The Wire (really, I know, it’s the best, right?)
  • Double Indemnity
  • My Own Private Idaho
  • The Goonies

and we could go on…..

8. And finally, my number one inspiration for staring this blog:

Filmspotting, Filmspotting, Filmspotting

I really can’t over-emphasize how much I adore this Chicago-based podcast and how essential it’s been in motivating me to get off my ass and write something. Started by two regular guys with a passion for all things film, the episodes, featuring reviews, interviews and top 5-lists, are often the highlight of my week. One of my favorite perks of living in the Windy City is that I can easily attend their live events and geek out when I catch a sighting of Adam, Josh or Matty Ballgame in person.

Of course, they don’t discuss television at all, but more than what they talk about, it’s how – with an openness to debate and new idea that trumps their lack of formal expertise and an undeniable love for not just the entertainment value, but the artistic potential of the medium. That love is something I want to get across with The Long Queue, whether writing about the big screen or small.

Well, that’s it – and if you’re still not sure what I’m all about, this sums me up pretty accurately:

One thought on “The Screen and I

  1. Glad there’s one other person on earth who hasn’t watched Breaking Bad yet 🙂 And yes on everything you listed in #2. MSTK was lazy Saturday afternoon nap fodder for my mom, sisters, and me; Quantum Leap reruns, which were always followed by Magum, were sick day staples (cannot explain how excited I was the other week when I was home sick and found a QL marathon on some random channel), and X-Files were my past-my-normal-bedtime treat with my dad. One of the best episodes was the with the red-eyed woods people purely because Anthony Rapp (it was my RENT-obsessed phase). Also the “Jeremiah was a bullfrog” scene. Ah nostalgia.

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